After graduating from Pomona in May with an almost-perfect G.P.A. as a molecular biology major and scoring in the 99.8th percentile on his MCATs, Duncan Hussey ’13 is on his way to achieving his life-long dream of becoming a doctor. But not quite yet.
A three-time captain and starting safety for the Pomona-Pitzer football team, Hussey missed his junior season with a back injury, and after graduating, still had one season left of NCAA eligibility. Rather than head off right away to medical school, where he plans to study oncology, Hussey decided to play his final season and take graduate courses in public health at Claremont Graduate University this fall.
That choice paid off for the team on opening day this fall, as Hussey, playing in his new role at wide receiver, set a new school record for touchdown receptions in a game, accounting for all four Sagehen scores in a 28-26 loss to MIT. He had three of his touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Pomona-Pitzer rallied to take the lead for a time.
For Hussey, the decision to stick around for another year of football was simple. “I just love my team and I love being together in the locker room,” Hussey says. “I knew I had the opportunity to play another year, and it was something I couldn’t miss. Once you leave, you never have the chance to be a part of it again.”
There was also a family precedent. Duncan’s older brother, Luke, played his fifth season of football at Dartmouth after graduating summa cum laude in 2011 with a degree in engineering. He is now working back on the West Coast, where he and the Hussey family regularly travel to Duncan’s games from their home in Seattle. Last year, in fact, the family was present as Hussey was honored with his class on Senior Day and helped the Sagehens to a 37-0 win over Claremont-Mudd- Scripps in the annual Peace Pipe game. It was particularly exciting as the defensive captain led the way for the team’s first shutout since defeating Oberlin in 2000.
A year ago, with the offense struggling to find weapons due to injuries, he became a two-way player in the second half of the season, playing wide receiver and defensive back three times in the same game. He also moved up to linebacker for a half when injuries hit there as well.
In a memorable performance against Occidental last season, Hussey had 13 catches for 218 yards and a school record-tying three touchdowns on offense, to go along with five tackles, a sack and a pass deflection on defense.
“Sometimes it is frustrating as a football player to feel punchless when you are sitting on the sidelines and you can’t do anything to help your team, so it was a unique opportunity to be out there for every play.”
Although the Sagehens have had some individual highlights and record-breaking performances over the last few years, wins have been hard to come by. But Hussey says, “I wouldn’t trade my experience at Pomona for anything.”
“The reason I chose Pomona is that it allowed me to take challenging pre-med courses while still being able to play football, and I’ve been extremely grateful for the chance to do both.”
So much so that he decided to stick around a little longer.